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THIS WEEK: Trying to help fathers evolve

Two fatherhood advocacy groups say men can do better at shaping their children's lives

MOLINE, Ill. — A new national ad campaign is aimed at the fathers in America.

"You see certain things get reincarnated in your children," says Durrell Lyons, a father featured in one of the ads airing nationwide.

The Ad Council has released a message on fatherhood featuring Lyons, who has a son and young daughter.

"I know what it's like to not have a dad in the household and it's a huge difference."

The 2020 Census is painting a picture of dads in America.

More than 18 million children live in single parent homes.

Of those, about three million live with just their father.

More than four times that number live with just mom.

"Modern fatherhood, being a father, is much different than it was decades ago," said Jeffery Leving, chairman of the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood.

"Right now, being a father is being not just a breadwinner, but a nurturer,"
 Leving said during an interview on "News 8 This Week with Jim Mertens."

More than 17-years ago, the state of Illinois created a Council on Responsible Fatherhood to promote the positive involvement of both parents in their children's lives.

"If you look at the statistics, you'll see that father absences is the most reliable predictor of crime in America," said Levin.

"So we know if you want to fight crime in America, re-engage fathers."

Listen to our entire interview with Jeffery Leming on THE CITIES PODCAST.

And engaged fathers are ones that may not be able to spend large quantities of time with their children, but do their best to spend quality time with their sons and daughters.

"We have resources for all kids of fathers," explained Eugene Schneeberg from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.

He says there are resources available to help men become better fathers, no matter their situation.

"From fathers that are involved in the military, to fathers who have children with disabilities, to stepfathers, to grandfathers , to fathers who have experienced separation through divorce."

The federal government's National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse says its mission is to build stronger families by helping build stronger fathers.

Leving says his mission also involves changing Illinois laws.

He wants to see Illinois lower the interest rate imposed on late child support payments arguing it can put out-of-work dads into deeper holes.

And he says state's shouldn't take away a man's drivers license as a penalty for missed payments, either.

"A dead broke parent with no money shouldn't lost their drivers license because they're behind in child support because what if they need that driers license to get a job or to get to work?" he asked. 

Durrell Lyons knows the setback children face when there is no positive male role model in the family.

"Just showing up is half the battle."

But the other half is being a good father, a good person, a good man.

You can watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" on Sunday mornings at 10 on WQAD News 8.